Infrastructure Minister Silvan Shalom on Thursday floated an alternative solution to moving Israel’s weekends to Saturday and Sunday: a four-day work week.

In order to participate in the global economy better, he said, Israel should align its business days with the international economy. In order to ensure that religious Jews were able to observe Shabbat, however, Friday could remain a holiday through the winter months, when Shabbat comes in early.

Shalom was speaking at the Manufacturer’s Association of Israel’s annual event in Tel Aviv, and despite his protestations that a five-day week was once considered unsustainable, the crowd was unimpressed.

MAI President Zvi Oren said that with Israel’s low productivity, which seems to be backsliding instead of improving, this was not the time for such a change.

“We don’t have enough of a professional work force,” he said. “At the moment it’s not a good idea and we will not agree to it.”


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